Stocks Fail To Gain Momentum On Thin Volume

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Includes: DIA, QQQ, SPY
by: Midnight Trader
  • DJIA down 69.48 (-0.57%) to 12,217.56
  • S&P 500 down 5.42 (-0.43%) to 1,257.60
  • Nasdaq down 8.59 (-0.33%) to 2,605.15

GLOBAL SENTIMENT

  • Nikkei up 0.67%
  • Hang Seng up 0.20%
  • Shanghai Composite up 1.19%
  • FTSE-100 up 0.10%

U.S. stocks ended the day in the red, but shares were near even most of the day, failing to move with any conviction on the last trading day of the year. Stocks posted mild gains just after opening bell, but this momentum was zapped when Spain's new government unveiled austerity measures and said it expects a 2011 budget gap of almost 8%, according to MarketWatch.

Before U.S. markets opened, China released its purchasing managers index for December, which fell to 48.7 from an earlier estimate of 49.0 (a reading of less than 50 indicates contraction). U.S. markets ignored this negative data point and instead opened with slight gains.

Stateside, there were no economic data released today, however, next week the calendar is full. On Tuesday: the ISM Index, Construction Spending, and FOMC Minutes; on Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Index, Factory Orders, Auto/Truck Sales; on Thursday: Challenger Job Cuts, ADP Employment Change, Initial Claims, ISM Services, 11 a.m. Crude Inventories; on Friday: the unemployment rate.

In company news:

Camac Energy Inc. was up amid reports it agreed to buy three exploration licenses in western Africa.

Shares of Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP) and MetroPCS Communications Inc. (PCS) rallied after JPMorgan Chase & Co. said yesterday that both companies may be a takeover target for bigger rivals AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) or T-Mobile USA after the companies' $39 billion merger plan collapsed.

The Benchmark Company reiterated MoSys' Inc. (NASDAQ:MOSY) Speculative Buy rating, and kept its $7.50 price target on the company, according to Barron's. MoSys' shares were up 43.8%. Last night, MOSY announced a $35 million sale of 73 patents to chip packaging technology firm Tessera Technologies (TSRA).

Commodities were mixed. Crude-oil futures closed down. Oil for February delivery fell 82 cents, or 0.8%, to settle at $98.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures added 8.2% to their value this year. The February gold futures contract rose $25.90, or 1.7%, to settle at $1,566.80 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

UPSIDE MOVERS

(+) CAK, Reportedly Agreed to Buy Western African Exploration Licenses

DOWNSIDE MOVERS

(-)AMR, NYSE to Suspend Trading in Shares

(-) SSN, Releases Advisory on Field Operations